House spending bill makes deep cuts.

September 20, 2013

Today, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through December 15 and avert a government shutdown. The resolution, totaling approximately $988 billion in overall discretionary funding, locks in 100 percent of sequestration cuts for domestic programs but would restore $20 billion to defense, continuing cuts to programs like employment and job training programs that can help boost our struggling economy.

House Leadership has described the CR as a “clean” continuation of current spending levels. However, that is simply not the case. For fiscal year 2013, Congress allocated $552 billion for defense and $491 billion for nondefense, for a total of $1.043 trillion, in line with spending limits required by the Budget Control Act. A clean CR would simply extend the funding levels set by the most recent spending bill—$1.043 trillion. Instead, the House passed resolution would fund the government at $988 billion, by enacting the post-sequester spending levels for nondefense programs, while providing a $20 billion increase in defense spending for FY 2014. The House-passed resolution, as a result, locks in sequestration by creating a new baseline from which future negotiations must begin.

Federal workforce development programs cannot continue to absorb such cuts. Key employment and training programs have already been cut by more than $1 billion since just 2010. If sequestration remains in place, as it does in the House CR, nearly 2 million individuals a year will lose access to critical employment and training programs. National Skills Coalition’s report, Undoing Success: The Real Cost of Federal Workforce Development Cuts to Jobseekers and Employers, shows that these cuts have resulted in employment and job training programs laying-off staff, reducing employment services to jobseekers and employers, closing career centers, and reducing or completely eliminating job training programs.

While Congress must act to avoid a government shutdown, locking in a decade of deep cuts and accepting sequestration as the new normal is simply unacceptable. Domestic nondiscretionary programs—including workforce development programs—cannot afford additional cuts. The economic future of our workers, employers, and country depends on Congress finding a permanent, balanced solution that invests in our workers and employers to grow our economy.